The 7 Most Common Weaknesses of Local Shops
And what we’re all going to do about them.
As we head into the busy holiday shopping season, we are seeing lots of Shop Local messages working to get customers to think about shifting their shopping more to local stores. I want to add another layer, and get rural business owners to think about making Better Local Shopping to hold on to those customers.
This is the last part of a seven week series on the weaknesses and what we can do about them. I hope you’ve put this series into action. If you have, I’ll bet you feel better prepared for the busy holiday shopping season that starts now.
- Weakness 1: Limited Business Hours
- Weakness 2. Poor Customer Service
- Weakness 3. Limited Selection
- Weakness 4: High Prices
- Weakness 5: Dated Appearance or Ugly Buildings
- Weakness 6. Not Marketing
- Weakness 7. Failing the Showrooming Test
Weakness 7. Failing the show-rooming test
Customers, even in small towns, are standing in local stores and using their smartphone to compare prices with online retailers. If the product is cheaper at the online store, they order it immediately, and the local business just lost a sale.
It’s extremely hard to compete on price alone. Especially when the local business pays for the store, provides jobs for the retail clerks, gives customers the education and information, and everything else that goes into being the show room. And then the online retailer doesn’t collect sales tax, giving them an additional price advantage (and hurting your municipal government.)
Solution: Connect with customers.
Don’t try to stop customers from getting online in your store. In fact, offer them wifi. Make it easy.
Customers need reasons to choose to buy from you, and they need to connect with you.
1. Offer them something special not available from online retailers.
This could be a bonus with their purchase, personalization, gift wrap, or a discount.
Carry more exclusive items, especially local items. If no one else has it, customers can’t buy it from some online store.
Give better service. Be the trusted adviser that online stores can only try to emulate with software.
2. Be part of your community and worth supporting.
That online mega-store isn’t sponsoring the local Girl Scout troop, are they? So talk about it, not just with in-person customers, but in your ads, with displays and signs in your store, and on your social networks.
3. Invite the comparison, but make it fair.
Invite customers to check your prices against the online shops, but make sure they add the items to the cart and check out taxes and shipping. That’s just one tip from an article on “proactive showrooming” from the Retail Owners Institute.
New to SmallBizSurvival.com? Take the Guided Tour. Like what you see? Get our updates.
- Rural tourism trends say small towns are still cool - March 27, 2023
- Move Your Money and Bank Local - March 22, 2023
- Using a building as a warehouse or storage in a small town? Put up a sign - March 13, 2023
- How to get customers in the door of small town and rural retail stores - February 19, 2023
- Check your small business website for outdated pandemic changes, missing info - January 31, 2023
- Rural Tourism Trend: electric vehicle chargers can drive visitors - January 15, 2023
- 2023 trends for rural and small town businesses - December 26, 2022
- Local reviews on Google Maps drive enduring value - December 17, 2022
- Extra agritourism revenue from camping, cabins and RVs with HipCamp - December 12, 2022
- Harvest Hosts attract vanlifers and RV tourists, Boondockers Welcome - December 2, 2022
Great advice, retailers need to ensure they stay competitive in their pricing vis- a-vis online stores having an online presence will help brick and mortar retailer’s combat showrooming. However retailers that think ahead innovate and adapt in a changing industry will stay in business longer than those that stick to methods that have worked in the past. I work for McGladrey and there’s a whitepaper on the website that readers of this article will be interested in, it offers great advice for retailers on how they can increase retail sales and stay ahead of the curve “Thinking about tomorrow: Post recession strategies for retailers”@ http://bit.ly/18Skei5